Sore throats can make life miserable, especially when they’re paired with other cold symptoms, such as fever, body aches and head congestion. Fortunately, you can alleviate discomfort by using some tried and true natural sore throat remedies.
The Common Sore Throat
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become more prevalent over the last several decades, thanks in part to the over-use of antibiotics. These days, doctors are trying to stem the tide by prescribing these drugs much less frequently. Although some types of sore throats are caused by bacteria which require antibiotic treatment, most are caused by viral infections that don’t respond to medications. In time, the vast majority of sore throats get better on their own; however, you can ease the process with the following at-home remedies:
- Licorice root: Research suggests you can alleviate sore throat symptoms by gargling with a solution of water and licorice root.
- Slippery elm: Because it contains a mucous-like substance, slippery elm can coat and soothe a scratchy throat. To use it, saturate the powdered bark with boiling water and drink the mixture once it’s cooled.
- Honey: Studies indicate that honey is more affective at treating coughs than common cough suppressant drugs. Mixed with tea, it can also sooth an irritated throat.
- Salt water: Gargling with salt water can alleviate sore throat symptoms by breaking down secretions, reducing swelling and killing bacteria.
- Marshmallow root: Prepared just like slippery elm, this natural remedy can soothe irritated mucous membranes.
- Sage and Echinacea: Research suggests that Echinacea/sage sprays can have a soothing effect on sore throat tissue.
- Peppermint: According to the American Cancer Society, you can relieve throat pain and reduce coughing by using sprays containing peppermint oil.
When to See a Doctor
In some instances, sore throats can be caused by dangerous bacteria, which require antibiotic medications. If you are suffering from a persistent sore throat or notice discoloration in the back of your mouth, visit a doctor. You should also seek medical attention if your sore throat is accompanied by a high fever or skin rashes, since this could be a sign of spreading infection.